Ski Gran Paradiso (4061m)
The Chamonix Valley From the Gran Paradiso
L-R, Mont Blanc, Maudit, Tacul, Dent du Geant, Aiguille Rochefort, Grandes Jorasses, Les Drus, Aiguille Verte
A Pleasant Skinning Track at 3750m on the Gran Paradiso
This is the broad col where the two separate routes from the Chabod and Vittorio Emanuelle Huts come together
Ski Ascent of the Gran Paradiso
Ski Touring above the Valsavarenche. The second highest peak entirely in Italy, The Grivola, is on the far right
Approaching the Gran Paradiso Summit Ridge
The superb hills of the Italian Valle d'Aoste stretching away behind
Gran Paradiso Summit Ridge
This short and quite narrow summit ridge provides a fine finale to the mountain and a more exposed mountaineering section to contrast with the long ski ascent. The skis are exchanged for crampons at a small col below for the 10 minute final ascent to the summit
Winter Afternoon Light for the Gran Paradiso Ski Descent
The fine 1300m ski descent leads straight to the hut before another 800m descent to the Valsavarenche
Mountaineering Training for a Ski Gran Paradiso Ascent
On the Italian Side of the Mont Blanc Massif, April 2013
Skiing the Little North Face of the Grand Flambeau
In the Mont Blanc Massif. Training to ski the Gran Paradiso
Pleasant Steady Ski Touring Ascent to the Chabod Hut
From the Valsavarenche this route takes a summer path through the Larch forest before pleasant open meadows leading up to the classic Alp where the hut gives a great view of the Glacial ascent.
Post Dawn at 3000m on the Ski Ascent of the Gran Paradiso
With the Mont Blanc Massif to the North beyond
The Technical Crux on the Summit Ridge of the Gran Paradiso
This short step is not difficult but quite exposed! Several 'in-situ' bolts make it very well protected and then the summit is reached. Congratulations!
The Summit of the Gran Paradiso (4061m)
On this ascent the skis were left below the final steepening which required crampons to ascend. On previous ascents this had been skinned up with a good pitch of powder down it!
Great High Mountain Skiing Off The Gran Paradiso
This glacial descent requires care due to extensive crevassing. However the glacier provides a natural and appealing ski - especially if the return to the hut is avoided in favour of a more direct descent towards the valley.
Skiing beneath the North Face of the Gran Paradiso
Very icy conditions in April 2013. This face had some ski descents last spring / summer but will need a lot more snow to stick to it before any descents (or ascents!) this season.
The Ski Trek Back to the Valsavarenche
On this occassion, with very warm weather, we moved fast to get as low back down the mountain as early as possible before the snow turned rotten. This happened at the tree line at about 2200m where the skis were fastened to packs for a pleasant spring like walk to the valley accompanied by Larch fragrance.
A Team Prepares to Ski the Gran Paradiso North Face
With the Italian South Face of Monte Bianco Beyond
On the Steady Ski Ascent to the Glacier Above the Chabod Hut
Good stable snow conditions in Mid April 2014
The Magnificent Upper Valsavarenche Skyline
With Ciaforon (3640m) far left with the Becca di Monciair to the right. The large flat col just left of centre is the Col Grand Etret (3201m) right at the head of the valley which provides a great descent all the way down to Pont in fine conditions. On the right Puna Foura has the col linking the Chivasso Hut with the upper Valsavarenche
Fine Steep Turns on the North Facing Ski Descent of the Col Grand Etret (3201m)
In good conditions this descent continues all the way down the valley to the cafe in Pont...
The Descent of the Upper Valsavarenche to Pont. Good Spring Snow Conditions in April 2014
With the Col Grand Etret behind
Team Arrival In Pont After a Fine Descent of the Upper Valsavarenche
And a great few days ski touring in the Gran Paradiso National Park. Good spring snow conditions in April 2014
Fine Morning for Mid May Ski Ascent of Gran Paradiso
Enjoyable snowy conditions on the summit ridge & great views from the Ecrins, Mont Blanc Massif & Swiss Giants of the Valais
The Start of Another Spring Ski Gran Paradiso Adventure
In the car park in the Valsavaranche for approaching the Chabod Hut
Ibex, Steinbock or Bouqetins Depending on Which Country You're In
Ibex, Steinbock or Bouqetins - Whatever you call them, these are frequent welcome companions in the Gran Paradiso National Park, seen here on the approach to the Chabod Hut in late spring.
Ski Touring Approach From the Rifugio Chabod to Gran Paradiso
With the Gran Paradiso North Face Beyond
Spring Summit Success on the Gran Paradiso
Cold & windy conditions on the upper mountain requiring winter mountain clothing & some efficient transitions!
Superb Snow on the North Facing Descent, May 2014
Some fresh snow & cold conditions giving good skiing down to the ascent route at 2400m followed by some reasonable picking through the trees down the National Park building at C.2250m and walking down the path to the valley from there.
Skiing At 4000m on the Gran Paradiso Descent
Great sustained skiing with superb views to the Southern French Alps, Vanoise & Tarentaise as well as further south to Monte Viso and further north to Mont Blanc.
Lovely Powder Tracks In the Upper Valsavarenche
This superb descent leads all the way down from the Col Grand Etret at 3150m to the Hamlet at Pont at 1960m. A great final ski out of the high mountains at the end of the trip
The Superbly Situated Rifugio Vittorio Emanuelle Hut (2735m)
The strategic location of the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuelle gives access not only to the Gran Paradiso but also La Tresenta and the Col Grand Etret at the head of the Valsavarenche.
The Paradiso North Face & Glacier Ascent
The fine view of the mountain suddenly opens up on the ascent to the Chabod Hut. The ascent was made with 1 hour of walking up the summer path. Normal conditions for late April.
Father & Son Team Arrive At The Lovely Rifugio Chabod
Run by a local to the Valsavarenche, Titti, this is a lovely hut, very well run and a great base camp for this ascent route. Slightly longer and much more heavily glaciated than the Vittorio Emanuelle route.
The Fine Glacial Ascent Under The Paradiso North Face
Taken from the Chabod Hut, this photos shows tracks on both lower and higher approach lines. Both routes join on the central section of the glacier and continue to the col at the back, c.3750m and the junction with the Vitttorio Emanuelle route.
Good Conditions On The Final Steep Snow Slope On The Paradiso
Approaching 4000m this final section of kick turns can provide hard work. However conditions are good here as the slope has been climbed on skins without ski crampons. Sometimes skis need to be carried here with boot crampons or even left at the base as a ski depot from where to climb on foot to the summit. However here in late spring snow in April 2015 has covered this slope in good grippy snow.
Good Ski Conditions Down The Same Final Slope
This steep pitch can be made even steeper by trending further right. This pitch links the upper plateau below the summit ridge with the lower plateau section just above the junction between Chabod & Vittorio Emanuelle routes. The hills of the Vanoise & Tarrentaise are visible to the West & South West beyond.
Good Snow Conditions On The Superb Final Mountaineering Ridge Section
With the heavily glaciated upper Valnontey Valley beyond & magnificent views down to Cogne.
The Exposed & Spectacular But Easy Final Ridge Section On The Gran Paradiso
This is well protected by bolts but still provides a grande finale to the ascent, especially for skiers not used to mountaineering! With good conditions, crampons and a well employed rope however this is an enjoyable and contrasting conclusion to the ski ascent.
Beautiful North Facing Powder Snow On The Gran Paradiso Ski Descent
This section is on the lower glacier of the Vittorio Emanuelle Route - below the upper mountain which had been lashed by the wind and above the lovely lower section in spring snow - some brilliant powder skiing high in the Italian Alps.
Frosty Departure From The Rifugio Vittorio Emanuelle (2731m)
Whilst many teams leave the hut to climb the Paradiso summit there are various other options including, La Tresenta, Col Tresenta, Ciaforon, Becca di Monciair, Traverse to the Pontesi Hut and the fine long ascending & descending traverse to the Col Grand Etret at the head of the Valsavarenche.
Pristine Carpet Of Velvet Powder Snow En Route To Col Grand Etret
This first section of this fine journey can be also be taken as an alternative, and often preferable, descent to Pont from the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut.
Brilliant Skiing - Beautiful North Facing Paradiso Powder
On the descent from the Col de Tresenta between La Tresent & Ciaforon above the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut.
Trail Breaking Through Pristine North Facing Powder
The C. 500m ascent to the Col Grand Etret from lower down the Valsavarenche.
Powder Turns To Spring Snow - Final Descent Of The Ski Gran Paradiso Tour
The Col Grand Etret can be seen upper right where the superb tracks start from. This point can also be seen from the cafe 1200m below from where the satisfaction of this brilliant ski journey out of the high mountains can be fully enjoyed & reflected upon.